Cashew Apricot Brown Sugar Cookies
The big girls went out to their friends' this weekend and my little munchkin stayed home with us. She had the brilliant idea of making sweet cookies with me, and I was happy to oblige. She's only 5 years old but she's already a very strong-minded little girl. She went into the pantry and picked a bunch of ingredients and we were ready to roll.
"Jackie, can we make cashew apricot brown sugar cookies with Mrs. Winsor's honey? Please, pretty please!" she asked.
"Dried fruit and nuts in cookies? Why not!" I exclaimed.
I can never say "no" to mon p'tit coeur (my little sweetheart). I suggested that we add candied ginger and cinnamon extract and she was ok with it. I'm glad we used our family friend Mrs. Winsor's honey. She makes her own honey on her property in Virginia and sent some to us for Christmas. We've already gone through one bottle and these honey cookies got us started off on the second. I'm glad we didn't use molasses because this particular honey has such a nice floral note. The cookies turned out absolutely delicious. Merci Mrs. Winsor!!
Yields: 20 cookies2 eggs
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 teaspoon almond extract (optional)
1-½ cups all-purpose flour
½ cup whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon sea salt (or regular salt)
½ teaspoon cinnamon extract
1-½ teaspoons pure vanilla extract
10 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 tablespoons heavy cream (or half and half)
½ cup dried apricots, chopped
2 teaspoons candied ginger, finely chopped
1 cup brown sugar
2/3 cup dark honey
1/3 cup cashews
Preheat the oven to 350°F.
Roasting cashew nuts: Preheat the oven to 170°F. Spread the cashew nuts onto a baking pan lined with parchment paper and roast them for about 10 minutes. Let the nuts cool completely. Roughly chop the nuts using a chef's knife; place them in a mini-food processor and pulse 2-3 times until coarsely ground. Cashew pieces should still be visible.
Sifting the dry ingredients: In a bowl, combine both flours, baking soda and sea salt. Sift all the dry ingredients.
Beating the eggs: In a small mixing bowl, beat the eggs with 2 tablespoons of granulated sugar for about 5-6 minutes. You'll get a pale, yellow foam and the texture of the eggs will be thicker. Add the vanilla extract and honey.
Reserve 20 small cubes of dried apricots for decoration later.
Making cookie dough: In another mixing bowl, cream the butter with the brown sugar (whisk using a stand-mixer to get as much air as possible in the butter). Add the egg mixture, the dry ingredients, 2 tablespoons of heavy cream, the almond (if used) and cinnamon extracts, apricots, ginger and roasted cashew nuts. Mix until the cookie dough is formed. Do NOT over-mix. Transfer the dough into a bowl. Plastic wrap it and chill the dough in the refrigerator until firm. It will take at least 15-20 minutes to firm up.
Line a (13 x 18-inch) baking tray with a sheet of parchment paper. Place 20 mounds (about 1 to 1- ½ tablespoons) of cookie dough onto the prepared baking sheet (we used a cookie scoop). Make sure to space the cookies about 2 inches apart so that they don't touch each other as they will expand when they bake. Place a piece of the reserved apricot in the center of each cookie.
Bake for 8 minutes at 350°F. Open the oven and rotate the baking sheet for even baking. Lower the heat to 325°F and bake for another 8-10 minutes. The cookies should be flat and golden brown. Remove from the oven and let the cookies cool completely on a cooling rack.
You can substitute 1 teaspoon of ground ginger for candied ginger. You can find candied ginger in most Asian stores at a very reasonable price.
I buy dried apricots in a Middle Eastern market; the apricots are a lot more moist than at most regular chain stores. They also make a great snack.
Sifting dry ingredients helps get rid of lumps of flour and aerates the mixture when liquid is added. It's an important step for all your baking so you get a nice result.
Make sure to space the cookies about 2 inches apart so that they don't touch each other as they will expand when they bake. We tried to cram all 20 cookies in one baking sheet and they ended up stuck to each other. If the cookies are touching each other, just gently separate them.
You can store the cookies in an airtight metallic tin for up to a week to keep them fresh. If you prefer them crisper, just let them cool for a longer time or place them in a regular cookie jar.Published By: on February 1, 2010.